'There's no harm in earning a cheque or two off-farm'
Cows and concrete are the twin enterprises being pursued by Co Cork farmer Denis Vaughan, and both are thriving due to the upturn in the economy in general and the solidity of dairy prices in particular.
Before the 33-year-old returned to run the family's farm in Boherbue a few years ago Denis had been " let go" by a local construction company following the collapse in the economy.
Denis runs a herd of 86 Friesians on 90 acres with a further 30-acre out-farm nearby, which he describes as "heavy ground not made any better by the weather we have had this year".
The Vaughans supply milk to the Boherbue co-op and also rear a similar amount of bull weanlings as well as heifers. At all times, Denis is advised on farm matters by his father Denis Snr.
Recently he noticed a growing need among local dairy farmers to update what he describes as the "concrete" on their farms, and not letting a good education in the construction sector go to waste, he set up his own company to deal with this demand a few months ago.
The company updates sheds, milking parlours, slurry pits and yards.
"Farmers don't want to be up to their knees in the farm waste created by this new expansion, and the work is local and it suits me," Denis explains.
The way he sees it, with milk prices forever going up and down, there is no harm in earning "another cheque or two" off-farm by doing something he knows well.